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Daily Dirt 06/21/2024 17:38:14

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February 13
Volusia Speedway Park,
Barberville, FL
Sanction: DIRTcar Supers (Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals) - $7,000
Information provided by: Kevin Kovac and track reports (last updated February 14, 7:56 am)
O'Neal stays hot, wins $7,000 thriller at Volusia
Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals
  1. Hudson O'Neal
  2. Tim McCreadie
  3. Chris Madden
  4. Nick Hoffman
  5. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  6. Brandon Overton
  7. Bobby Pierce
  8. Max Blair
  9. Shane Clanton
  10. Brandon Sheppard
  11. Kyle Bronson
  12. Ashton Winger
  13. Dennis Erb Jr.
  14. Kyle Strickler
  15. David Breazeale
  16. Tyler Bruening
  17. Devin Moran
  18. Donny Schatz
  19. Daulton Wilson
  20. Brian Shirley
  21. Cade Dillard
  22. Boom Briggs
  23. Stormy Scott
  24. Jordan Koehler
  25. Frank Heckenast Jr.
  26. Mason Zeigler
presented by
Jim DenHamer
Hudson O'Neal celebrates his third straight win Monday at Volusia.
What won the race: Making a third-to-first move, Hudson O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., led the final 11 laps of Monday's thrilling 25-lap feature that saw four leaders to capture the 52nd annual Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals opener at Volusia Speedway Park. Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., finished 0.977 of a second behind O'Neal, who earned $7,000 for for his third straight Georgia-Florida Speedweeks. victory.
Key notes: Hudson O'Neal's win marks his third straight this Georgia-Florida Speedweeks, adding to his back-to-back wins last Thursday and Friday at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla. The 22-year-old now has five career Speedweek wins, tying him for 32nd all-time. ... Among Monday's lap leaders: Bobby Pierce (laps one and 14), Tim McCreadie (laps 6-13) and Nick Hoffman (laps 2-5). ... One caution for Mason Zeigler slowed the 10-minute-long feature. ... Eighteen of the 26 starters finished on the lead lap. … The final week of the DIRTcar Nationals continues with Tuesday's round two and another $7,000-to-win full show for DIRTcar Late Models before Wednesday’s Triple 20s featuring three 20-lap, $5,000-to-win main events. … The DIRTcar events set stage for World of Outlaws Case Late Models sanction beginning with Thursday's $10,000-to-win followed by Friday’s $12,000-to-win A-main and Saturday’s $20,000-to-win finale. … Watch live on DIRTVision.
On the move: Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., started 22nd and finished fifth.
Winner's sponsors: O’Neal’s Rocket Chassis has a Durham Racing Engine and sponsorship from Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Rocket Chassis, Ace Metal Works, Gunter’s Honey, Hoosier Racing Tire, Integra Racing Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing Co., Petroff Towing, WR1 Sim Chassis, O’Neal’s Salvage & Recycling, Performance Grading, Slavic Shirts & Decals, Sunoco Race Fuels and Rocket Preowned Motors.
Current weather: Clear, 55°F
Car count: 46
Fast qualifier: Brandon Overton
Time: 15.784 seconds
Polesitter: Bobby Pierce
Heat race winners: Chris Madden, Tim McCreadie, Bobby Pierce, Nick Hoffman
Consolation race winners: Daulton Wilson, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Next series race: February 14, Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL) $7,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

BARBERVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 13) — Hudson O’Neal showcased just how much can change in a  few short weeks on Monday at Volusia Speedway Park.

The last time the 22-year-old from Martinsville, Ind., visited the half-mile on Jan. 20, he failed to qualify for that night’s feature as growing pains adapting to life in the Rocket Chassis house car seemed too real. But Monday’s opening round of the DIRTcar Nationals at the speedy oval provided a far more meaningful result.

In a thrilling 25-lap feature that saw four different leaders, O’Neal again prevailed as the victor by outlasting Tim McCreadie for his third straight win this Georgia-Florida Speedweeks. McCreadie finished 0.977 of a second behind O’Neal, who led the final 11 laps to secure the $7,000 prize.

“This one almost means more than the rest of them. We struggled so bad whenever we came here in January,” O’Neal said. “We hot-lapped pretty good and we didn’t qualify quite like the way we wanted to. But I knew we had potential. After that heat race (on Monday), I was pumped up and ready to go. I thought I had a pretty good race car. Man, it’s just unbelievable. … It’s just pretty awesome to be standing up here, to be honest.”

Unlike his back-to-back wins at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla., where he never trailed in the 40- and 50-lap features, O’Neal raced from behind in Monday’s swift feature that lasted 10 minutes.

After polesitter Bobby Pierce led the opening lap, Nick Hoffman led the following four laps and looked poised to become the next driver to capture a breakthrough victory this Georgia-Florida Speedweeks. That all changed after the race’s lone caution period for Mason Zeigler, who retired from the race on lap five because of mechanical issues.

On the ensuing restart, McCreadie generated a run good enough to catapult him to the lead from third by the time he rounded for the backstretch. McCreadie led from laps six through 13 until a slip-up off the cushion in turn four allowed Pierce to regain control amid slower traffic on lap 14.

McCreadie later explained that his handling was fading by the lap, which was also the detriment in his pair of runner-ups at Volusia on Jan. 26 and 27.

“I just had to get in a better groove. I was out there kind of losing the right-front, losing the right-front, and that’s kind of what we had the first night when we were here (last) month,” McCreadie said. “It’s a little flat up there (in turns three and four), and the cushion is a lot bigger with a little less moisture on it. The non-wing (sprint cars) kind of shined it up just a little bit.

"My car needs a little stick on entry to get it to pop back up how I like it. Then you’re up in that flat and can’t steer. All in all, I mean, the track was fun to race on. That’s all you can ask for: a fun, racy track. Lead changes, in and out of lapped traffic.”

Pierce could only lead lap 14 as he encountered the same issue that hurt McCreadie along the turn-four cushion just a lap prior. O’Neal pounced on Pierce’s mistake, driving by McCreadie and then underneath Pierce through turns three and four to take the lead for good.

“Hudson did a good job. I guess it’s better to be running third,” McCreadie said. “Bobby was more worried about what I was doing, I think, and must’ve not known he was coming. When he went by me, I thought, Bobby better do something, and he’s going to drive by both of us with no problem. We righted the ship at the end, and we’ll take it and move on tomorrow.”

O’Neal led by as much as 2.4 seconds in the closing laps, and though slower traffic never altered the end result, it did allow McCreadie to cut the lead from 1.890 seconds on lap 22 to 0.709 of a second on lap 23.

“I thought the racetrack was awesome,” O’Neal said. “I was able to get a run off the top in one and two there and that’s what set me up to get the lead down in three and four. But, man, we raced all over this thing. It was actually pretty fun. It reminded me of the old Volusia.

“It’s just really cool. We had a great week at East Bay. It’s so cool to come over here, with the trip we had earlier in the year, it just feels good redeem ourselves.”

While the early leaders, Hoffman and Pierce, faded to finish fourth and seventh, respectively, Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., crossed the checkers with a respectable third-place finish. The third-starting Madden fell to fifth early and could never quite recover from there.

All told, it’s Madden’s third top-five finish in as many races to start the young season, which is something he’ll gladly take.

“Positioning was kind of everything there," Madden said. “Being on the bottom on that restart wasn’t the place to be. We kind of got pinched up and couldn’t get going there. I fell back, and had to work our way back up. We had a pretty decent car tonight. We need to work on it a little bit and need to get just a little bit better. We’re very close; another podium finish here.”

Feature lineup

Row 1: Bobby Pierce, Nick Hoffman
Row 2: Chris Madden, Tim McCreadie
Row 3: Max Blair, Hudson O’Neal
Row 4: Shane Clanton, Brian Shirley
Row 5: Brandon Overton, Brandon Sheppard
Row 6: Kyle Bronson, Donny Schatz
Row 7: David Breazeale, Ashton Winger
Row 8: Dennis Erb Jr., Kyle Strickler
Row 9: Tyler Bruening, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 10: Stormy Scott, Devin Moran
Row 11: Daulton Wilson, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 12: Boom Briggs, Mason Zeigler
Row 13: Cade Dillard, Jordan Koehler

Consolation results

(10 laps; top three transfer)

First consolation finish: Daulton Wilson, Boom Briggs, Cade Dillard, Todd Cooney, Mike Spatola, Chase Osterhoff, Stacy Boles, Mike Benedum, Trevor Gundaker, Hunt Gossum, Brian Booze, Reid Millard, Brent Larson. Scratched: Payton Freeman.

Second consolation finish: Ricky Thornton Jr., Mason Zeigler, Jordan Koehler, Blair Nothdurft, Logan Martin, Mark Whitener, Doug Drown, Austin. Kirkpatrick, Dylan Thompson, Brenden Smith, Blake Spencer, Dustin Walker.

Heat results

(Eight laps; top five transfer)

First heat finish: Chris Madden, Max Blair, Brandon Overton, David Breazeale, Tyler Bruening, Mike Benedum, Mike Spatola, Boom Briggs, Trevor Gundaker, Chase Osterhoff, Reid Millard, Payton Freeman.

Second heat finish: Tim McCreadie, Hudson O’Neal, Brandon Sheppard, Ashton Winger, Frank Heckenast Jr., Daulton Wilson, Brent Larson, Cade Dillard, Todd Cooney, Stacy Boles, Hunt Gossum, Brian Booze.

Third heat finish: Bobby Pierce, Shane Clanton, Kyle Bronson, Dennis Erb Jr., Stormy Scott, Jordan Koehler, Mason Zeigler, Mark Whitener, Austin Kirkpatrick, Dylan Thompson, Dustin Walker.

Fourth heat finish: Nick Hoffman, Brian Shirley, Donny Schatz, Kyle Strickler, Devin Moran, Ricky Thornton Jr., Blair Nothdurft, Logan Martin, Doug Drown, Blake Spencer, Brenden Smith.

Pre-race notes

Six nights of DIRTcar Nationals Super Late Model action kicks off Monday with a 25-lap, $7,000-to-win DIRTcar-sanctioned feature. Weather conditions are clear with afternoon highs reaching 70, though temperatures are expected to cool into the 40s as the evening progresses. … Forty-five cars are signed in for the program, which will include group qualifying with drivers time-trialing against their heat opponents. … Among the drivers who have cars in the pit area but aren’t entering Monday’s show are Dale McDowell, Jimmy Owens, Ryan Gustin, Tanner English, Johnny Scott, Gordy Gundaker and Chase Junghans. … The K&L Rumley Enterprises No. 6 is parked in the pits with NASCAR star Kyle Larson expected to drive it on Tuesday before his commitments begin at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday. … Curmudgeonly DIRTcar director Sam Driggers didn’t waste time waiting for racers to show up for Monday’s Super Late Model drivers’ meeting that what scheduled for 4 p.m. When just one driver was at the World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series control trailer at 4:01 p.m., Driggers summarily canceled the meeting. … Monday's four heat winners will redraw to determine the top-four starting spots in the feature. ... Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., has entered Chris Ferguson’s No. 8 Team Zero Bloomquist car that he ran in last month’s Sunshine Nationals. … The two-car team of Reid Millard of Jefferson City, Ill., and his new hired gun, Trevor Gundaker of St. Charles, Mo., are making their 2023 Speedweeks debuts. … Other drivers making their first Speedweeks starts are Brian Booze of Greencastle, Pa., Hunt Gossum of Mayfield, Ky., Dylan Thompson of Paducah, Ky., and World of Outlaws Sprint Car star Donny Schatz of Fargo, N.D. … Mark Whitener of Middleburg, Fla., plans to run his own No. 5 the first two nights of the DIRTcar Nationals and then likely park it because its motor is nearly lapped out. He said the possibility remains that he will run the car he raced last week at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla.: the No. 89J usually piloted by fellow Floridian Jeff Choquette. … Doug Drown of Wooster, Ohio, stayed in Florida with his Swartz Chassis No. 12d after competing last week at East Bay to take his first-ever shot at running Volusia. … One year after turning heads with several strong Volusia runs as a WoO rookie, Kyle Hammer of Clinton, Ill., is a spectator in the pit area. He ran a UMP modified last week but didn’t bring along his Late Model.

Time trials

First group   

  1. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 15.784
  2. Max Blair (111B), Centerville, Pa., 16.029
  3. Mike Benedum (25), Salem, W.Va., 16.207
  4. David Breazeale (54), Four Corners, Miss., 16.214
  5. Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 16.221
  6. Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 16.254
  7. Payton Freeman (22*), Commerce, Ga., 16.256
  8. Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 16.341
  9. Mike Spatola (89), Manhattan, Ill., 16.448
  10. Chase Osterhoff (130), Kankakee, Ill., 16.484
  11. Trevor Gundaker (14G), St. Charles, Mo., 16.558
  12. Reid Millard (14R), Jefferson City, Mo., 17.019

Second group   

  1. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.944
  2. Brandon Sheppard (b5), New Berlin, Ill., 16.063
  3. Hudson O'Neal (1), Martinsville, Ind., 16.117
  4. Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C., 16.120
  5. Ashton Winger (12), Hampton, Ga., 16.161
  6. Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 16.164
  7. Frank Heckenast Jr. (99Jr), Frankfort, Ill., 16.191
  8. Todd Cooney (30), Des Moines, Iowa, 16.354
  9. Stacy Boles (11B), Clinton, Tenn., 16.464
  10. Cade Dillard (97), Robeline, La., 16.546
  11. Hunt Gossum (99G), Mayfield, Ky., 16.792
  12. Brian Booze (B2), Greencastle, Pa., 17.543

Third group   

  1. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 16.069
  2. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 16.132
  3. Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.163
  4. Jordan Koehler (114) Mount Airy, N.C., 16.222
  5. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 16.275
  6. Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 16.294
  7. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 16.409
  8. Dylan Thompson (99T), Paducah, Ky., 16.501
  9. Mark Whitener (5), Middleburg, Fla., 16.760
  10. Austin Kirkpatrick (11K), Ocala, Fla., 16.792
  11. Dustin Walker (14W), Peculiar, Mo., 17.034

Fourth group   

  1. Nick Hoffman (9), Mooresville, N.C., 16.221
  2. Devin Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, 16.256
  3. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 16.327
  4. Brian Shirley (8), Chatham, Ill., 16.351
  5. Donny Schatz (15), Fargo, N.D., 16.388
  6. Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C., 16.510
  7. Blair Nothdurft (76), Renner, S.D., 16.573
  8. Doug Drown (12d), Wooster, Ohio, 16.829
  9. Logan Martin (36), West Plains, Mo., 16.840
  10. Blake Spencer (6S), St. Augustine, Fla., 17.016
  11. Brenden Smith (17SS), Dade City, Fla., 17.275

Monday's schedule

(All times local)
1 p.m.: Pits open
4 p.m.: Drivers' meeting
5 p.m. Grandstands open
5:30 p.m.: Hot laps
- Sprint cars
- Super Late Models
- Sprint cars group qualifying
- Super Late Models group qualifying
Opening ceremonies
7 p.m.: Heat races
- Sprint cars (8 laps)
- Super Late Models (8 laps)
- Sprint cars (12 laps)
- Super Late Models (10 laps)
- Sprint cars (25 laps)
- Super Late Models (25 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Pierce, Hoffman
Row 2: Madden, McCreadie
Row 3: Blair, O’Neal
Row 4: Clanton, Shirley
Row 5: Overton, Sheppard
Row 6: Bronson, Schatz
Row 7: Breazeale, Winger
Row 8: D. Erb, Strickler
Row 9: Bruening, Heckenast
Row 10: S. Scott, Moran
Row 11: Wilson, Thornton
Row 12: Briggs, Zeigler
Row 13: Dillard, Koehler
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